Tumbling toward Two Thousand


Our story starts with Voltaire, who lived and wrote in the midst of scientific progress, intellectual optimism, and the increasing momentum of economic production.1 The century of the Enlightenment would end with the French Revolution, Napoleon’s fanatical wars, increasingly strong economic ties among European states, and the advent of the bourgeoisie. Voltaire, it can be said, was a transitional figure in the Enlightenment. Though ever hopeful about the future, he was also earnestly ironic about his Utopian and excessively optimistic and good-natured Enlightenment comrades.


Eighteenth Century Social Theory Social Contract French Revolution Enlightenment Project 
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  1. 1.
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© Plenum Press, New York 1993

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